Gerontology Interest Group - GiG

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Based in the Fitzpatrick College of Nursing,  the Gerontology Interest Group - the GiG - is a campus-wide collaboration of students, faculty, and staff who engage in research, advocacy and workforce development to support the needs of the aging population. 

This interest group is a common-ground for older adult-devoted faculty and an anchor for soon-to-be practicing nursing students with an interest in older adults.  The GiG is a mechanism to mentor undergraduate and graduate students from across campus (for instance, those from engineering, pre-med, business, law, psychology, nursing) who have an interest in working with and for older adults.  

For the first time in United States (US) history, older adults are projected to outnumber children by 2030 as all baby boomers will be older than age 65. Moreover, the 65 and older population is expected to nearly double from 13% in 2010 to 24% by 2060. This growth among the older adult population is not unique to the US but is occurring around the globe creating a challenge for all countries to care for this growing and unprecedented older adult population.

Determining how to care for this growing population of older adults with multiple chronic conditions presents both opportunities and challenges. This underscores the urgent need for the education and preparation of nurses and students of all disciplines who are equipped to care for older adults with complex social and health needs, many of whom are suffering from three, four, or even five chronic conditions simultaneously.

The Fitzpatrick College of Nursing is meeting this need with the GiG which aligns with its growing number of faculty with the varied expertise necessary to build a reputation for innovations in research and education across the care continuum, related to older adults.

 

Director of the GiG

Melissa O'Connor, PhD, MBA, RN, FGSA, associate professor

Dr. O'Connor was named a Distinguished Educator in Gerontological Nursing by the National Hartford Center for Nursing Excellence and a Fellow in the Gerontological Society of America. She has dedicated her career to caring for older adults living in the community through her numerous funded research studies and to educating future nurses about the unique needs of older adults and how to care for them. Dr. O’Connor’s work has been widely published and previously funded by the National Institutes of Health, the John A. Hartford Foundation, The NewCourtland Center for Transitions and Health, The Eugenie and Joseph Doyle Fund and Sigma Theta Tau International. Her specialties include skilled home health, transitional care, telehealth, informatics and clinical decision support. 

For questions or inquiries regarding your interest in supporting the GiG, please contact Dr. O'Connor at melissa.oconnor@villanova.edu or 610.519.4932.